With a successful career in snowboarding, and subsequent extreme sports TV hosting, Greta Gaines made an unlikely turn of careers when the New Hampshire-by-way-of Wyoming athletic beauty opted for Country singing. With a string of albums and behind-the-scenes work between 1992 and 2006, the songstress makes her return with Rock-fused record that celebrates independence, attitude and the social rebound. Whiskey Thoughts are a seasoned woman's words as she sings her return into the marketplace.
For a mother of two, Gaines takes risks that earn her audience's trust. "Dirty Blonde" is as sexually-revealing as it is a statement on gender relations, while the title song alludes to drug use and obvious drinking. This is the type of songwriting that thrives in an independent release, combining with Gaines' bodacious voice, make for a very resonant album. Mavericks singer Raul Malo joins Gaines on the duet "Love Is Twisted," another cut that adds to the overall theme of a pensive, but gratifying break-up. The Rock inspiration leads the feel of many songs towards a Fleetwood Mac/Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers territory, but further album cuts profess the loyalty to the Country genre.
At other times, the same boldly independent writing bends to trite, missed attempts at popularity. "L Is For Loser" for instance, cheapens the depth of Greta's love themes for a generation-gapped tune that mocks an ex and seems like trickle-up daughter-to-mother trendiness. "I'm High" also uses a curious contrast between chorus and the story in the verses that comes across disjointed.
While Whiskey Thoughts is not without its flaws, the album carves a unique lane in the market, and brings back a singer who proves to have plenty of perspective to offer. Strong vocals, dynamic instrumentation and varying moods make this work human, tangible and lasting. Just as she was as a snowboarder, Gaines proves that you can't always get what you want out of life's twists and turns, but your outcome is greatly determined by your resiliency. This album is a guiding light to those facing turns later in life than they might have expected, with a lot of youth still left in them.